Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Writer ~ Tristi Pinkston

By Cindy R. Williams

CRW: Welcome Tristi! It’s a pleasure to have you as our Wednesday Writer today on Writers Mirror. Tristi, in one sentence, please introduce Tristi Pinkston to us.

Tristi: I’m a mom, a homeschooler, a terrible housekeeper, a blogging addict, a lover of naps, a fairly decent wife, a dedicated Cafe World player, a new Cubmaster, a freelance editor, a Molly Mormon and proud of it (especially the Molly part) and the author of five, soon to be six, published books.

CRW: (Laughing) Why did you first begin to write?

Tristi: I first started writing when I was about five years old. I wrote a poem after church one Sunday and my mother started planning my first book launch.

CRW: What inspires you to write?

Tristi: Everything. I hear a song or a news report, or the little voices in my head start talking to me, and it all leads to writing. I'm just addicted to it.

CRW: Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Tristi: I would like to write daily, but it doesn't always happen. Rather than setting a certain number of words, I write in bursts, generally in half-hour bursts, and I typically get around 1,400 words at a pop. If the muse isn't flowing, I don't write.

CRW: What gets in your way of writing?

Tristi: Generally speaking, it's just the other tasks I need to do that keep me from writing. I might have a lot of housework to do, or I might be working for an editing client, and so I'll do those things and skip my own writing for the day. Although, if I'm going to be perfectly honest, and I think I should, more often than not the housework waits.

Sometimes I do get hung up on a plot point, but those tend to resolve themselves if I let them.

CRW: How do you get them to resolve themselves?

Tristi: When it comes to the plot point issues, I'll either let it stew in the back of my brain a bit, or I'll talk it over with someone. There's something about speaking the problem out loud that makes it easier to solve. My critique group is awesome at helping me figure out details, too.

CRW: What makes you CRAZY about writing –both crazy good and crazy bad?

Tristi: The things that make me crazy in a bad way are computer glitches and the fact that authors don't make much money. But I'm crazy about it in a good way because it makes me happy. I love sharing stories with others.

CRW: Where is the weirdest place you have worked on a writing project?

Tristi: In the waiting room of a hospital.

CRW: How long does it take you to complete a book?

Tristi: It all depends on the book - some of the Secret Sisters books took just six weeks to write, and then they went through the critique group process. Other books, like my historicals, take much longer. If there's research involved, it definitely takes longer.

CRW: Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Tristi: Under couch cushions, in the lint screen ... just kidding. Ideas can come from anywhere. It's just a function of asking yourself, "What if?" You hear a news story, and you ask yourself, "What if that person had reacted differently?" and suddenly, you've got the start of a story.

CRW: Where do you get your character’s names?

Tristi: Occasionally, a character will pop into my head with their name intact. This was the case with Ida Mae Babbitt. She showed up, told me her name, and I never even considered changing it. Her counselor, Arlette, was the same way. I did change Tansy's name. She started out as Mitzie. But I have a friend named Mitzie who is very different from Tansy's character, so I decided to change the name. Took me about ten seconds to realize what the name should be.

Other times, I'll pull up a baby name website on the computer, or I'll turn to a list of names I started some years ago as I heard names I liked. I'll go through the lists until I find the name that "fits" that character.

CRW: What is your favorite writing food?

Tristi: I eat a lot of sunflower seeds, but they make my jaws tired. My #1 favorite thing to munch/drink is ice water, with lots of ice. I also consume my fair share of chocolate. I lean toward foods I can eat with one hand while scrolling or typing with the other. I consume a fair number of my meals at the computer.

CRW: What do you do when you get writer’s block?

Tristi: I put it aside and don't worry about it. Ideas flow best in a stress-free environment, and if I'm stuck, there's no reason to push it. If I get away from the computer and watch a movie or take a hot shower, before long, the ideas start to flow again.

CRW: You mentioned you belong to a critique group? Please share with us how it helps.

Tristi: I've been meeting with my group for a couple of years now, and they are invaluable to me in pointing out those little things I either don't know or space off. I wish I had them when I first started writing.

CRW: How do you prepare your WIP to submit? Do you edit it yourself, or do you hire it out?

Tristi: I work as a freelance editor, so I edit it myself, but I run it through my critique group first.

CRW: Tristi, congratulations on your newest book“Dearly Departed." It's so new, I have yet to see the front cover. Send it to me as soon as you get it and I will post it here for all to get the first look. Please give us a bit of a preview.

Tristi: "Dearly Departed" is the second book in The Secret Sisters Mysteries series. Our main character, Ida Mae Babbitt, is back to solving crime - this time, infiltrating a nursing home where she believes a murder has taken place. The first book, "Secret Sisters," is available wherever good LDS books are sold, and also on Amazon.

CRW: Please give us your  best "Elevator Pitch."

Tristi: With a broken arm and a broken ankle, Ida Mae Babbitt is in a perfect position to infiltrate a suspect nursing home and discover who did away with the blue-haired lady on the upper floor. But she'll need her motorized wheelchair to catch the culprit once she learns who it is.

CRW: Sounds like a lot of fun and a premise for tons of mishaps. Who's your publisher?

Tristi: I just signed with Walnut Springs.

CRW: Wonderful Tristi! (Clapping, cheering, cartwheels!!) Please tell us about your other books.

Tristi: My first novel is titled "Nothing to Regret," and is about the Japanese internment camps during World War II, specifically the one called Topaz down by Delta.

Next came "Strength to Endure," which is also set in World War II, but from the German perspective.

After that, I wrote "Season of Sacrifice," which is the true story of my great-great-grandfather, Benjamin Perkins, who engineered the passage through the Hole in the Rock in southern Utah. This book was the most spiritually fulfilling for me to write, as it's my family history.

Then I released "Agent in Old Lace," which was my first contemporary book and also my first mystery. It has some elements of humor in it as well, as a male FBI agent must pose as a woman to bring the bad guy to justice.

Last March, I released "Secret Sisters" the first volume in The Secret Sisters Mysteries. It's a fun, light-hearted mystery which spoofs a lot of things about LDS culture in a non-offensive way.

CRW: Where can Writers Mirror Readers purchase your novels?

Tristi: They're found in LDS bookstores everywhere, but they're also all found on I would recommend going there first - my first two books are out of print and no longer available, but you can get them on Amazon. Here are the links:

"Nothing to Regret"

"Strength to Endure"

"Season of Sacrifice"

"Agent in Old Lace"

"Secret Sisters"

You can also get two of my books for the Kindle.

"Agent in Old Lace"

"Secret Sisters"

CRW: Okay, now here's the toughie. Why are you a writer?

Tristi: That's not a toughie - I'm a writer because I don't have any other choice. It just ... happens.

CRW: Well put. What would be the best complement you could receive from a reader?

Tristi: Readers most compliment me in three ways - when they tell me they stayed up all night reading, when they tell me the book made them cry, or when they tell me that the book helped them realize the truth behind an important gospel or life principle. Those are the compliments I most remember. Of course, though, any and all compliments are welcome.

CRW: If you were only able to write one more book to leave as your legacy, what would you write about?

Tristi: I already did it. "Season of Sacrifice" is the book I feel I was supposed to write. Everything else that comes after it is icing on the cake. That doesn't mean I plan on retiring any time soon, but it means that I feel a measure of accomplishment having done that.

CRW: Lucky lady, you get to cross that one off your bucket list. Where can we read more about you or contact you, such as website or blog sites?

Tristi: My blog:

My website:  You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter, just using my name to search, and I also write regularly for

CRW: Thank you for sharing this with us on Writers Mirror.

Tristi: Thank you for hosting me! It's been a lot of fun!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Eat, Write and Be Merry For Tomorrow We Sleep!

by Cindy R. Williams

Eat, write and be merry for tomorrow we sleep. Do you live your life like this sometimes? Do you have writing jags that keep you flying and you stay up most of the night? Maybe you are in the re-writing stage, the editing stage. the proofing stage. No matter what stage, it can happen.

I'm guilty. Sometimes the world revolves around my manuscript. I have decided it is NOT good. Oh, once in a great while it's okay, but for the most part NOT! I believe it's possible to go off the deep end if we don't learn to balance the writing life. It's far healthier for mind, body, emotions and spirit to live with a good dose of the staples of life. "Moderation of all things" is my new motto.

Read up on some of the big name authors, and you'll find that many of them plant themselves in their chair anywhere from two to eight hours a day, on a regular basis. They respect their writing and treat it as a job. Then they STOP! They enjoy the other wonderful things in their lives.

Sounds like a plan, a good plan. No need to sacrifice all sanity nor my lovely family. It can all work together with moderation in all things.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010



What's a query letter you say? It's a letter that is meant to convince an editor that your story is the greatest story ever told and that they absolutely have to have it even more than chocolate. A query letter is your proposal of sorts, your calling card, you’re desperate plea to "PICK ME! PICK ME!" without sounding the least bit whiny or desperate.

I have been flying on Sparkin the dragon's noble back over Arizona for three years now and yet found the query letter about as much work. Wait a minute, hold the phone, and your horses or whatever it is you hold. I actually found the book an absolute delight to write. I love the characters, even the sinister ones and many times had to be called back to this planet to fix dinner, and attend to the worldly needs of my wonderful family. The query letter was more of a tear out your hair exercise that lasted through several months of research and 42 --not a typo --different versions, one to please each query letter expert. I studied the blurbs on the back of a gazillion books, and finally had an epiphany. Why not complete the exercise outlined by one of my most favorite agents that I was blessed to attend her presentation last April at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference?

So after the "why did it take you so long to figure it out?" moment, I finally hit upon what the heart of this book is about and what makes it unique. I realized it is a story of youth learning that they can do hard things, and learning that it is okay to be yourself even if you are different than others.

As Sparkin of the amazerful Stoneloch Dragon Clan would say, "It is ever so sweet" to have it complete.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Welcome to our second annual “Summer Treasure Hunt: Dig for Clues and Win” Contest! My author friend, Joyce DiPastena, organized this SUPER SUMMER contest again this year. A prize is given away everyday from June 1 through Juloy 8th. We have something for everyone: romance, fantasy, mystery, suspense, historical, contemporaries, young adult and middle grade fiction; children’s picture books including Cindy R. Williams' Award Winning "Chase McKay Didn't Get Up Today."  (Hey, isn't she the the blogger behind the curtain here?) Also a variety of non-fiction titles. We also have some exciting non-book prizes: a hand crocheted book tote and cell phone case; a book/jewelry combo; a Mary Kay cosmetic assortment; a The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe DVD; and (you aspiring writers won’t want to miss this one!) a free edit/critique for the first 50 pages of an unpublished novel by a three-time published author!

You can send in an entry for each day’s prize, or only for those prizes that strike your fancy. The rules are simple:
(1) Go to the website or blog indicated for each day, find the answer to the question for that day, then EMAIL THE ANSWER WITH YOUR NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS to I promise you will not wind up on any mailing lists. This is only to facilitate the receipt of your prize. All entries will be deleted at the end of the contest.
(2) Please send a separate entry for each day and type the day you are entering in the subject line. (Such as: Summer Treasure Hunt, June 1; Summer Treasure Hunt, June 2, etc).
(3) Deadline for each day: Midnight PST
(4) The winner will be contacted and announced on the day following the deadline.
     All winners will be “drawn” by
     You do not have to wait until the designated day to enter. You can start sending in your entries right now, or begin entering at any point along the way. And check back here each day between June 2nd-July 9th to read the names of the winners.
     If you have any questions, feel free to email Joyce DiPastena at

And now…let the Treasure Hunt begin!
SPONSOR: Donna Hatch
PRIZE: QUEEN IN EXILE, (fantasy romance), autographed by author
QUESTION: The princess must rely upon her magic to save whom? (Hint: Look under “Bookshelf” tab)
WINNER: Amber Nielson of Vermont
ANSWER: Herself and her people from death and tyranny

SPONSOR: Laurie Lewis
PRIZE: AWAKENING AVERY (women's fiction), autographed copy
QUESTION: Avery's signal that she isn't handling her husband's death very well comes to her when she tosses what into what? (Hint: Look under books & reviews, then click on the cover to AWAKENING AVERY and read the first chapter)
WINNER: Barbara Stilwell
ANSWER: The remote into the TV

PRIZE: RILEY'S MISSION (PDF: romantic suspense)
QUESTION: Where does Jade sit after she sees Aziz Khadoul? (Hint: Click on “Books” tab, then on “excerpt” link for RILEY'S MISSION)
WINNER: Judy Cox, Louisianna, USA
ANSWER: An empty chair

SPONSOR: Jenna Dawlish
PRIZE: SPRIG OF THYME (Victorian romance), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the name of the hero in Jenna's first novel LOVE ENGINEERED? (Check out “The Library” tab)
WINNER: Ginny Romney, Az USA
ANSWER: Charles Lucas

SPONSOR: Rachael Renee Anderson
PRIZE: DIVINELY DESIGNED (contemporary LDS romantic comedy), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the title of Rachael's second book, being released in August? (Hint: scroll down to Rachael’s “Goodreads” titles on the right hand sidebar))
WINNER: Karin Tillotson, Pennysylvania USA
ANSWER: Luck of the draw

SPONSOR: Linda Kay Garner
PRIZE: SOME SECRETS HURT (picturebook), autographed copy plus a homemade cuddle blanket. This picture book is for all ages. It is simple enough to be understood by a very young child, meaningful enough to appeal to teenagers, informative enough to be helpful to parents, and powerful enough to reach out to a wounded adult.
QUESTION: The only thing worse than finding out that your child is being sexually abused is ____ ____ ____? (Hint: Listen to 5 minute KSL TV interview on the right side of the website or download the free Parents’ Guide)
WINNER: Laura Lewis, North Carolina, USA
ANSWER: Not finding out

SPONSOR: Danielle Thorne
PRIZE: (New/Sealed) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (Widescreen DVD)
QUESTION: In Danielle Thorne's novel, TURTLE SOUP, what is the name of the marine biologist who inspires Sara Hart to name her deli Turtle Soup? (Hint: read the blurb for TURTLE SOUP on Danielle’s website homepage)
WINNER: Carol Rainbolt, Arizona USA
ANSWER:  Jack Brandon

SPONSOR: Larry Hammersley
PRIZE: LAB PARTNERS (sweet 1950’s romance), ebook
QUESTION: What are the first names of the hero and heroine in the short story LAB PARTNERS? (Hint: Check out “WIP Report” post for April 4, 2010)
WINNER: Minna Gerhart
ANSWER:  LeRoy and Jody

SPONSOR: Linda Weaver Clarke
PRIZE: MELINDA AND THE WILD WEST (historical romance, YA and adult), autographed copy
QUESTION: What was Melinda doing when she first met Gilbert and why did he act flustered and then abruptly turn and briskly stride away? (Hint:. Click on “Sample Chapters” tab, then on the book title for MELINDA AND THE WILD WEST to read a sample chapter.)
WINNER: Cassandra Cantree Utah, USA
ANSWER: Wading in a stream with skirts hiked up showing legs and feet.

SPONSOR: Angela Morrison
PRIZE: TAKEN BY STORM (Penguin/Razorbill 2009), YA romance, autographed hard cover
QUESTION: A legendary LDS author of over 30 books for teens called TAKEN BY STORM, an amazing story written with a clear, refreshing and creative voice." Who was it? (Hint: check TAKEN BY STORM tab)
WINNER: Diana Donahoo Illinois, USA
ANSWER: Jack Wayland

SPONSOR: Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
PRIZE: TRAPPED (romantic suspense with a hint of paranormal fantasy), autographed copy
QUESTION: The first trap Emi Warrin encounters is a mysterious letter. To where does it lure her? (Hint: Read the book summary under the TRAPPED tab)
WINNER: Amanda Isbell Utah, USA
ANSWER: Austrian Alps

SPONSOR: Anne Patrick
PRIZE: JOURNEY TO REDEMPTION (inspirational romantic suspense), free download
QUESTION: What did Royce use to do for a living in my upcoming release, OUT OF THE DARKNESS? (Hint: Look under the My Books link for Anne’s new release, OUR OF THE DARKNESS)
WINNER: Cindy Schuerr Wisconsin, USA
ANSWER: He played Pro Football

SPONSOR: Rebecca Talley
PRIZE: ALTERED PLANS (contemporary LDS romance), autographed by author
QUESTION: What is unique about my youngest son? (Hint: Watch the YouTube video Extra C posted on the right side of Rebecca’s blog)
WINNER: Rachel Stanley California, USA
ANSWER: He has an extra chormosome/Down Syndrome

SPONSOR: David J. West
PRIZE: HEROS OF THE FALLEN (historical fiction), autographed hardcopy)
QUESTION: What is the name of my favorite author? (Hint: Scroll through David’s June blogs. He promises you’ll find the answer!)
WINNER: Tawnya Mayo Utah, USA
ANSWER: Robert E. Howard

PRIZE: FREE edit and/or critique of first 50 pages of a novel
QUESTION: What is the Japanese word for the hairstyle worn by sumo wrestlers? (Hint: Check out Jennifer’s favorite sumo blog, Sumo Beautiful. Look for Hama Bijin’s April 13th post)
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES as long as the manuscript can be emailed to Jennifer and is in English.
WINNER: Tracy Astle California, USA
ANSWER: Chonmage

SPONSOR: Rebecca Irvine
PRIZE: FAMILY HOME EVENING ADVENTURES (non-fiction book of FHE lessons), free e-book on CD QUESTION: What is the title of the first book written by Rebecca Irvine? (Hint: Read “about me” on Rebecca’s blog)
WINNER: Tracy Travis California, USA
ANSWER: Adventures with the Word of God

SPONSOR: Marilyn Bunderson
PRIZE: THE MARK (YA Fiction), autographed copy with a bookmark
QUESTION: In a deleted scene from my book,  THE MARK, Jon loses a bet to Shae. What does he have to do to pay up? (Hint: Found in post titled Deleted Scenes From THE MARK dated April 15, 2010)
WINNER: Karen Haas North Carolina, USA
ANSWER: Go country line dancing

SPONSOR: Heather Justesen
PRIZE: Winner’s Choice: THE BALL'S IN HER COURT (contemporary inspirational) or REBOUND (contemporary romance), autographed by author
QUESTION: How much did the FBI agent expect John's bail to be set at? (Hint: Click on "My Books" tab, then "read more" about REBOUND.)
WINNER: Colleen Conklin Arizona, USA
ANSWER: About half a million.

SPONSOR: Nichole Giles
PRIZE: THE SHARP EDGE OF A KNIFE (inspirational historical, based on a true story), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the correct title of the humorous anthology I coauthored? (Hint: Look in the right hand sidebar)
WINNER: Taffy Lovel Utah, USA

SPONSOR: Karen Adair
PRIZE: Trendy blue/brown crocheted book tote with matching cell phone case (Check out Karen’s “Diva Strings” website for examples:
QUESTION: Where did Karen learn how to type and what speed did she finally top out at? (Hint: Check Karen’s “Bio” tab)
WINNER: Becky Drew Arizona, USA
ANSWER: I took my first class in middle school and my latest clocked speed is 120 words per minute.

SPONSOR: Lynn Parsons, co-author of the soon-to-be-released non-fiction book: (dis)Abilities and the Gospel
PRIZE: A pair of hand knit socks
QUESTION: What are three of the topics I list on the parent page of my website? (Look on “Parent Page” tab)
WINNER: Karen Tillotson Pennsylvania, USA
ANSWER: ADD/ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Autism, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Educational Activities for the Home, Transition to Adulthood.

SPONSOR: Kinzie Monroe
PRIZE: RESERVATIONS FOR TWO (inspirational romance), autographed CD
QUESTION: What was Maggie doing when she and Carson first met in Reservations for Two? (Hint: click in the “Excerpts” link on Kinzie’s blog)
WINNER: Paige Child Utah, USA
ANSWER: Roller blading

SPONSOR: Michele Ashman Bell
PRIZE: SUMMER IN PARIS (YA romance), autographed copy and Eiffel Tower bookmark
QUESTION: What is Michele "dreaming of"? (Hint: found on sidebar above picture of Eiffel Tower
WINNER: Sharlina Mata, Costa Rica

SPONSOR: Jaimey Grant and JaysDesign Jewelry
PRIZE: A signed copy of REDEMPTION, a Regency romance by Jaimey Grant, and a 19" hand-knotted strand of freshwater pearls ($45 value) handmade by Jay T Lyons of JaysDesign Jewelry.
QUESTION: Artist Jay T Lyons did a sketch for the cover of an upcoming Regency romance of mine. What is the sketch of and what is the title of the upcoming book?
WINNER: Cydni Tongishm Utah, USA
ANSWER: A prison hulk for the cover of RETRIBUTION

SPONSOR: Christine Thackeray
PRIZE: LIPSTICK WARS (LDS Women’s Fiction), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the name of the angel who needs a vacation in my recent pamphlet, Could You Be an Angel Today? (Hint: Play the book trailer for Could You Be an Angel Today on Christine’s home page
WINNER: Carissa Cantrell Utah, USA
ANSWER: Gladys

SPONSOR: Bonnie Harris
PRIZE: Mary Kay Satin Lips Set, Travel Size Satin Hands Set and a set of mineral eye colors
QUESTION: What is the name of my African Gray and African Desert Tortoise? (Hint: Read “About Me” in the left hand sidebar)
WINNER: Cheryl Snyder Pennyslvania, USA
ANSWER: Kumba & Digger

SPONSOR: Teralee Deighton
PRIZE: CUP OF COMFORT FOR NEW MOTHERS (personal essay anthology)
WINNER: Susan Arroyo Utah, USA
ANSWER: Colleen Sell

SPONSOR: C. LaRene Hall
PRIZE: MARTHA'S FREEDOM TRAIN (middle grade historical), autographed by both author and illustrator
QUESTION: How many short stories has C. LaRene Hall published in the humorous anthology, MORMOAN MISHAPS AND MISCHIEF? (Hint: Look in the left hand sidebar)
WINNER: Chris Okelberry Utah, USA

SPONSOR: Sarah M. Eden
PRIZE: COURTING MISS LANCASTER (Regency romance), autographed copy
QUESTION: In his "I Need Friends Friday" interview, what reason does Edward Cullen give for not sleeping at night?
WINNER: Teryn Ercnbrack Utah, USA
ANSWER: Because I'm a Monster

SPONSOR: Marcia Mickelson
PRIZE: REASONALBLE DOUBT (LDS Suspense), autographed copy
QUESTION: In what country was author, Marcia Mickelson born? (Hint: Click on “About Marcia” tab)
WINNER: Patricia Cochran Texas, USA
ANSWER: Guatamala

SPONSOR: Kimberly Job
PRIZE: I'LL KNOW YOU BY HEART (romantic suspense), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the title of my current work in progress? (Hint: Look under “My Books” tab)
WINNER: Archana Subramaniam Georgia, USA
ANSWER: A Change of Heart

SPONSOR: Joan Sowards
PRIZE: HAUNTS HAVEN (an LDS ghost story), autographed copy
QUESTION: What is the name of the town in which the story of HAUNTS HAVEN takes place? (Hint: Found on sidebar synopsis of story)
WINNER: Jobie Marshall Ogden
ANSWER: Cassidy Springs

SPONSOR: Margaret L. Turley RN
PRIZE: SAVE THE CHILD (Reality Fiction), autographed copy
QUESTION: Where can you listen to an audio interview with Margaret L. Turley about her book, SAVE THE CHILD? (Hint: Click on link at the bottom of Margaret’s bio on her “About the Author” page)
WINNER: Heather Perry Utah, USA

SPONSOR: Joyce DiPastena
PRIZE: ILLUMINATIONS OF THE HEART (sweet medieval romance, a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist), autographed by author
QUESTION: Who were gifts usually given to on Epiphany during the Middle Ages? (Hint: Click on STOLEN CHRISTMAS tab and read excerpt from An Epiphany Gift for Robin)
WINNER: Lexie Hogan Utah, USA
ANSWER: Small children

SPONSOR: Cindy R. Williams
PRIZE: CHASE MCKAY DIDN'T GET UP TODAY (Arizona Glyph Award Finalist and Southwest Book Awards Finalist), a snuggle, giggle children’s picture book.
QUESTION: There is a picture of Cindy holding two dragons on her website, The names of the dragons are in the caption below the picture. What are their names? (Hint: Look on the “Book” page)
WINNER: Diane Pollack Iowa, USA
ANSWER: Thundertail and Sparkin

SPONSOR: Gail Pallotta
PRIZE: LOVE TURNS THE TIDE (inspirational romance with suspense), free e-book on CD with a pendant necklace and matching earrings.
QUESTION: Who comes to Cammie O'Shea's rescue after she has a break-in at her unit in Destin, Florida? (Hint: Scroll down to: MORE ABOUT THE BOOK)
WINNER: Jeanette Jackson. Canada
ANSWER:  Vic Deleona

SPONSOR: Danyelle Ferguson, co-author of the soon-to-be-released non-fiction book: (dis)Abilities and the Gospel
PRIZE:  A 30 page manuscript edit.
QUESTION: Name three of the "special needs" address in (dis)Abilitites and the Gospel. (hint:  Click onthe "Books" tab for (dis) Abilities and the Gospel.
WINNER: Jacque Stevends Maryland. USA
ANSWER:Autism, Down Syndrome, Bi-polar disorder, Memory loss and more.

SPONSOR: Karen E. Hoover
PRIZE: SAPPHIRE FLUTE (YA Fantasy), autographed copy
QUESTION: How many bloggers have posted their reviews of the SAPPHIRE FLUTE? (Hint: Check out the list under SAPPIRE FLUTE Blog Tour in the right hand side bar and count ‘em up)
WINNER: Paige Ray Californian, USA

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book Review ~ "Summer in Paris" by Michele Ashman Bell

SUMMER IN PARIS by Michele Ashman Bell

      "I declared bankruptcy this morning. We've lost everything." Kenzie's father took a breath and continued. "We have thirty days to auction off our belongings and move out of the house."
      Kenzie's mouth dropped open with disbelief. "Bankrupt," she whispered. That one word had the power to reduce her life from chauffeurs and credit cards to nothing.
     "While we sort this out," her father continued, "we've made arrangements for you to stay with your aunt and uncle in Paris."
     Paris. That wouldn't be so bad.
     But wait . . . her uncle didn't live in Europe. He lived in Idaho.

Reading this blurb on the back of the book had me thinking two things. This Kenzie is a spoiled brat, and the book is going to be full of situations that will humble her to the point of becoming a nice and likable person.
I was right on both accounts. The personal growth arc that Bell creates for her main character is well done.

At first I had little sympathy for Kenzie. I felt like saying, "Oh waaaahh." Kenzie just seemed like a girl with a silver spoon and the world owes her a living mentality. Bell soon changed that image by giving glimpses into Kenzie that proved that she really was a nice kid with bad things happening to her. Bell dug deep into the character and created a well rounded young lady that rose to the occasion.  My respect grew for the socialite as the story progressed.

One of my favorite characters was Rambo, aka Adam. He is about as perfect as a guy can be even though he has been kicked out of the social stratosphere for a horrible crime he was accused of, but not convicted. He brought a breath of fresh air into the town, and the story. He also seemed to bring the best out in Kenzie.

Bell fleshes out the surrounding characters by creating firm images complete with, mannerisms, and personalities.

Kenzie was given the farm chore of gathering eggs from the hens. Bell did a great job making it seem real and added humor to the situation. Readers will experience it right along with Kenzie.

I got a little confused when Kenzie turned her nose up at oatmeal for breakfast because of her strict diet as a ballerina, yet ate shakes and french fries without batting an eye. I chocked it up to the fact that she must be allowing herself the full experience of living a new and different life.

"Summer in Paris" is a fun read about coming of age and a little romance twisted throughout. Bell throws in a good mystery to keep you turning the pages. I recommend the book to read while lounging on a hammock in Paris, Idaho or France. Your own back yard will actually do just fine.

"Summer in Paris" is another quality book published by Valor Publishing Group LLC.

    Michele Ashman Bell

To purchase "Summer in Paris" CLICK HERE

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Review ~ "I'll Know You By Heart" by Kimberly Job

The day Stephanie Roberts met Jared Wakefield, she didn't realize they had met before. Running from an abusive marriage and trying to safeguard her children, Stephanie turns to Jared for support--but he needs more from her than she might be capable of giving.  With her abusive husband looming in her past, the difficulties they must overcome seem insurmountable.

Is it possible for love to conquer all?  "I'll Know You By Heart" is a timeless romance that explores the possibility that relationships span the entire realm of eternity---a story about abuse, hardship, and betrayal---ultimately a story about the healing power of everlasting true love.

So far so good. I love a good story, and a good romance at that. I knew from the very first page that I was in for a bit of a rough ride following Stephanie as she dealt with and faces her horrific trials. Kimberly Job doesn't hold back on the reality of the pain, suffering and fear that accompany abuse by a spouse. She also fills the reader with hope, and comfort as she takes them on a journey of discovery, strength, honesty, and healing.

In the story, Stephanie has three children and lives in constant fear from her husband's violent temper. She puts up with it for years, convincing herself that it's really her own fault and that if she could only be better, or prettier, or perfect, etc., he would not treat her this way. It was a harrowing look inside what a battered woman deals with. Job is spot on in when she writes the scene where Stephanie grows a back bone; when the abuse spills over to her sixteen year old son. I was with her, urging her along as I read. This can't continue. She MUST take responsibility and not allow her children to be abused. Job writes with such clarity, insight and honesty that the characters become real, their pain and suffering flows out of the pages and into your heart.
This novel is not all about the anguish and tragedy of abuse, but also one of great hope, healing and growth. Job brings the story to life and takes the reader on quite an emotional ride. One cannot help but be changed after reading this book. Stephanie comes full circle when her Spirit is no longer surrounded by constant fear. She is able to recognize those inner whisperings and follow her heart. The reader is able to come to grasp with our eternal nature along with Stephanie in the story.
Job has created a masterpiece of hope. "I'll Know You By Heart" is a must read.

To purchase your own copy of "I'll Know You By Heart"
by Valor Publishing Group LLC.,  click here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book Review ~ "The Thorn" by Daron D. Fraley

"The Thorn" by Daron D. Fraley is a new release by Valor Publishing Group, LLC. Writers Mirror has been invited to participate in the book blog review tour. Let's start with the captivating blurb on the back.

Three tribes are at war on the planet Gan, unaware that the sign of Christ's birth on an unknown word--Earth--is about to appear in the heavens.

During a bloody skirmish with Gideonite troops, Jonathan of Daniel spares Pekah, a young enemy soldier, gaining his trust forever. These two distant brothers from estranged tribes covenant with each other to end the war being waged by a self-proclaimed emperor, and soon discover the intentions of a far more dangerous foe--a sinister general bent on ruling those he can bring into subjection and destroying all others. 

I must admit my curiosity was piqued by this mixture of history and religious beliefs being tied together and viewed through the eyes of people living on another planet. I'm not a big fan of war books and movies, but started reading with hopes of a good tale. I was not disappointed. Fraley weaves an interesting story of three very different groups of people dealing with intrigue, power, murder, romance, obedience, faith, trust and forgiveness.

The names of the characters were excellent and in keeping with the story. Battle strategies were mapped out with finesse. Fraley seems to know how to stage a war. The weapons he described lent themselves well to the story. The Thorn was quite unusual, and an interesting object in itself. The sword Jonathan used was particularly fascinating. Stones that glowed with light when rubbed were another good creative touch.

The two sister suns, Aqua and Azure, were mentioned by name often throughout the book which leads one to believe they play some significant part yet to be revealed. Sniffling and teary eyes by grown men and hardened soldiers gave me pause now and then.

Spoiler Alert: The anointing of the King and the two marriages were lumped together in one event which seemed a little anti-climactic and a bit rushed since each event was a big deal.

Included in the book is a preview of chapter one of the next book which contains a disturbing hook. As an advocate for the sanctity of one's person, and particularly my daughters, I was upset to leave the new situation unresolved, but isn't that what a good hook does? I'll have to read book two and hope there is some kind of justice.

Fraley takes us on a journey back in time and gives a good look into what might have been in a universe far away. He certainly makes the possibility come alive in his novel.

To purchase your own copy right now  click here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Writer ~ Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

Author Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen was born and raised in Rexburg, Idaho, received her Associates Degree in English from Ricks College and studied writing at Weber State University and Utah State University. Her first article was published in a 1994 magazine, and she has since published numerous articles and short stories in print and online mediums. Her first mystery novel, MISSING, was published in 2009, and her second novel, TRAPPED, will be available in stores next month.

CRW: Welcome, Ronda, to Writers Mirror. It is a pleasure to have you be the Wednesday Writer today on Writers Mirror.

Ronda: Thanks, Cindy. I’ve been looking forward to this moment.

CRW: Please tell us when you first began to write?

Ronda: I’ve been “writing” since the 6th grade, but my first published article came out in a 1994 magazine.

CRW: What inspires you to write?

Ronda: The hunger to write, no matter what. But I also have a strong desire to write books that “lift” my readers. Too few people realize how important their goodness is to this world.

CRW: Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words?

Ronda: I try to write 5-6 days a week. I usually try to write as much as I can within the time I have. Sometimes that time involves research and planning, so it’s hard to plan a number of words. Not an excuse, I promise. Just the way it is for me at this point in my career.

CRW: What gets in your way of writing?

Ronda: Any and all other responsibilities. Honestly, the desire to write is so strong in me that I have to make myself do other things. I do better, however, if my schedule allows me to write in the morning. That way I don’t feel as guilty the rest of the day about not writing.

CRW: How do you get past it?

Ronda: If I’m having a crazy busy day, then I try to AT LEAST write down ideas or even a sentence or two on my WIP.

CRW: What makes you CRAZY about writing? Both crazy good and crazy bad.

Ronda: By crazy do you mean obsessed? I think I am a bit obsessed about writing which brings the good and bad that goes with that “condition.” But you know, it wasn’t until “MISSING” came out and I began
to have overwhelmed moments piled on top of overwhelmed moments (mostly related to promotion) that I actually thought “Why am I doing this?” The thought didn’t last long, though.

CRW: Where is the weirdest place you have worked on a writing project?

Ronda: My husband’s apartment in China. I don’t consider my car during my kids’ soccer practices as weird, because I think that kind of thing is becoming the norm among mom-writers.

CRW: How long does it take you to complete a book?

Ronda: “MISSING” took 3 years because it was my first and I had a huge learning curve. I also extensively rewrote it three or more times. “TRAPPED” took 1 ½ years. I’m hoping my 3rd will take me less than that. Experience helps a lot.

CRW: Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Ronda: To me, ideas are everywhere, just floating around us, waiting for someone to snatch them up. For instance, my first novel, “MISSING,” came from a man/child exchange I saw in a parking lot. “TRAPPED” was the union of two vivid dreams. The book I’m working on now has bits and pieces from a few shows I saw on the History Channel.

CRW: Where do you get your character’s names?

Ronda: I usually have an idea of who my characters are, so I go through Baby Name books and find those that mean something similar to my characters. I then work with those names until I find one that feels right.

CRW: What is your favorite writing food?

Ronda” If I’m under stress, I gravitate to chocolate.

CRW: What do you do when you get writer’s block?

Ronda: I’m rarely blocked in the sense that I can’t think of anything to write. When I get stuck in a scene or something, though, I read, brainstorm, research—just anything along that line that might “show” me what to do next.

CRW: Tell us about your upcoming book “Trapped."

Ronda: Like my first novel, “MISSING,” “TRAPPED” is a romantic suspense novel. However, it’s different than anything else I’ve ever written because it includes a hint of paranormal fantasy—no ghosts, though. “TRAPPED” was originally scheduled to come out later this year, but my publisher pushed it up to April. That makes two novels for me within 6 months. Whew!

CRW: Who is your publisher?

Ronda: Walnut Springs Press.

CRW: Please give us your best “Elevator Pitch” for "Trapped."

Ronda: When Emi Warrin, a sheltered, twenty-three-year-old Florida girl, wakens to find a thief in her room, she has no idea that the "trap" he left behind will eventually lead her and the man she loves to the Austrian Alps. Nor does she know that she's the powerful Firstborn. She's destined to face a world of betrayal and pagan sacrifice to save herself, her family, and the generations who come after her.

CRW: Please tell us more about "Missing."

Ronda: “MISSING” is an LDS novel about a BYU-Idaho student who’s on a choir tour in British Columbia when she spots a kidnapped child from her own hometown in Rexburg, Idaho. The story is the hunt to save the girl and includes a bit of romance with a handsome musician along the way

CRW: Where can Writers Mirror Readers purchase your novels?

Ronda: “TRAPPED” hasn’t been released yet, but I believe it will be available in the same places you find “MISSING.” “MISSING” is available online at,, and other retailers. It’s also in Deseret Book and independent bookstores where LDS books are sold. You can find direct links to it on my website at

CRW: Okay, now here is the toughie. Why are you a writer?

Ronda: Actually, that’s easy. I’m a writer because that’s what I do. It’s who I am. If I don’t write, I feel like my day Isn’t quite complete.

CRW: What would be the best complement you could receive from a reader?

Ronda: These are two of my favorite responses: ‘I couldn’t put it down!’ and ‘You made me cry.’ But you know, if I’m hearing from someone face-to-face, I also love the excited look in their eyes when they ask me when my next book is coming out.

CRW: Where can we read more about you or contact you, such as website or blog sites?

Ronda: My website is I also have two main blogs I write for. One is about writing related topics on The other contains information about my travels as well as serious articles I’ve written for

CRW: Thank you for sharing this with us on Writers Mirror.

Ronda: Anytime, Cindy. It’s been fun!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wednesday Writer - Author Nichole Giles

Author: Nichole Giles and her books:
"Mormon Mishaps and Mischief"
"The Sharp Edge of the Knife"

Nichole Giles was born in Nevada, raised in Arizona, and graduated high school in Utah. Her early career plans included becoming a megastar actress or rock star, but she decided instead to have a family and then become a writer, in that order. Writing is her passion, but she also loves to spend time with her family, travel, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.

CRW: Welcome, Nichole, to Writers Mirror. It is really great to interview you today. Where do you usually do most of your writing?

Nichole: We have a den, but my kids have taken over the computer in there, so I usually opt to hide out in my bedroom with a laptop. It works for me.

CRW: Do you try to write daily, and if so, do you set a goal of a certain number of words or a certain amount of time?

Nichole: You know, I have four kids, including teenagers, so while I do write every day, that writing isn't always on a work in progress. Some days I'm happy to clean out my inbox and write blogs. But I try to make some kind of progress every day, and as long as I do that, I feel like I'm moving forward.

CRW: What gets in your way of writing?

Nichole: My kids, our schedule, the other parts of life like laundry and making dinner. But I will say that I often give up sleep in order to find a few minutes for writing.

CRW: How do you get past it?

Nichole: Sometimes, I don't sleep. Other times, I write on a notebook while I'm on the go. One of these days I hope to hire a housekeeper to take care of my house while I write--but until then, I take things one day at a time.

CRW: What makes you CRAZY about writing?

Nichole: Crazy as in I love it or crazy as in drives me nuts?

CRW: You choose.

Nichole: I love writing because it's a great channel for emotions, and because I get to live in another world for a little while every day. But it sometimes drives me crazy when I have characters having conversations in my head while I'm trying to concentrate on other things.

CRW: Where is the weirdest place you have worked on a writing project?

Nichole: I've been known to edit at half time during soccer games, and have also worked on things in airports and on planes.

CRW: How long does it take you to complete a book?

Nichole: It depends on the book. I work on several projects at a time, and usually an entire book takes me between a year and two years to complete and edit. But I'm talking from conception to conclusion and everything in between.

CRW: Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Nichole: From everything in life. Look around! The world is full of ideas.

CRW: Where do you get your character’s names?

Nichole: Some of them come to me already named. But when they don't, I have a huge character naming book that I pour through until I've found just the right names.

CRW: What is your favorite writing food?

Nichole: It depends on the day. Sometimes it's chocolate, but sometimes black licorice.

CRW: Tell us about your books.

Nichole: Mormon Mishaps and Mischief is an anthology of 200 short stories about the silly things people do in and around church meetings and activities. It's available everywhere LDS Books are sold.

The Sharp Edge of a Knife is based on the true story of my grandpa, who was kidnapped in 1958 by two convicts on the run. The men planned to kill him, but through his faith and spiritual promptings he managed to change the outcome of the experience. This book is available on Amazon, and will hopefully make it into stores soon.

CRW: Who are your publishers?

Nichole: Mormon Mishaps and Mischief was published by Cedar Fort, Inc. And The Sharp Edge of a Knife by Golden Wings Enterprises.

CRW: Please give us your best “Elevator Pitch” for one of your books.

Nichole: When Mel Petersen leaves for work on the morning of February 7, 1958, he has no idea what awaits him when he picks up a pair of young men who appear to be college students. What Mel doesn’t know is that the men are actually convicts on the run, who are desperate to get away by any means necessary. When one of his passengers holds a knife to Mel’s throat, he has no choice but to submit to the demands of the criminals. Mel hopes he has what it takes to talk his captors into letting him live, but fears they will kill him before he has the chance.

CRW: Why are you a writer? Loaded question I know since you need to state it in only a few sentences.

Nichole: Because I love literature, I love creating mental pictures, and because it's the only way to silence the voices in my head.

CRW: Who do you hope reads your work?

Nichole: Everyone who might find something valuable in it. And possibly a few people who will read it just for the sake of enjoyment.

CRW: What would be the best complement you could receive from a fan?

Nichole: Oh wow. Um, how about something like, "Your book helped me..."

CRW: Where can we read more about you or contact you, such as website or blog sites?

Nichole: My blog is, and my website is

CRW: Thank you for sharing this with us on Wednesday Writers.

Nichole: Thanks for having me. I enjoyed this interview.